Fast cars and even faster women. Evil Hot Rod by Cat Crew Inc, playing virtually at the 2021 Toronto Fringe Festival, is like if the T-Birds in Grease went evil. In this musical radio play set in 1950s New York, Tony Raggione is proud of his new hot rod purchase, despite what all his buddies say. This ride, Carmilla, may look like a hunk of metal that likely won’t make it off the lot, but Tony is determined to make her a lightning roadster… even if she happens to be evil.
Evil Hot Rod is written and directed by Carlo Schefter and Diana Di Mauro and is a direct throw back to greaser flicks, hot rod culture, and rockabilly aesthetic paired with a good ole horror flick. This is a horror comedy that’s chock full of satirical (and a few rather stereotypical) characters that serve as vehicles for the songs. There isn’t much growth to the characters here; it’s all about the music.
If you’re a fan of Grease or The Rocky Horror Picture Show, you’ll be drawn to the music here. In particular, the number “Strange Love” is reminiscent of “Greased Lightnin'” and “Sweet Transvestite” combined.
And if the music is the main focal point, what we have here feels more like a decent draft than a fully developed show. Something that I can feel can be fleshed out, edited, and played around with to be transformed into a production that has the potential to be quite spectacular. As it stands, it’s a good effort but it’s currently lacking something — fleshed out lyrics, stronger vocals, a more rounded band, further expansion to the story itself — which might really blow people away.
Considering how creating theatre during the pandemic has left many artists with far more challenges than they’re used to, this may have weighed on the limitations of this production. I’m not sure if Evil Hot Rod was written with the intention of being a radio play, but if they do plan on fleshing out this story for the stage, I’m looking forward to seeing what they do.
- Evil Hot Rod is playing on-demand at the Virtual 2021 Toronto Fringe Festival.
- Purchase a $5 Membership to access the On-Demand programming on the Fringe website, then Pay What You Can to each show as you go with a suggested price of $13 per show.
- Memberships can be purchased here. View the virtual on-demand show listings here.
- Accessibility notes:
- On-Demand shows: videos are closed captioned, transcripts are available for all audio content, documents are screen-reader friendly, and all digital images are provided with alternative text descriptions. These access supplements have been generated by the company and reviewed by the Festival. They may vary slightly from company to company.
- Fringe Primetime presentations will feature Auto-Transcribed Captioning.
- Content Warning: This production contains depictions of violence, coarse language, gunshots, sexual content, and abrupt cues, recommended for an audience ages 14+.
Poster design by Diana Di Mauro and Carlo Schefter